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LAHORE, Jan 9: Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique claims that the PML-N government has granted approval to the service structure for doctors according to their demands for the first time.

Talking to the media at Punjab Health Director-General office on Wednesday, he said after approval by the government the authorities concerned had implemented a major portion of the service structure draft by issuing notifications. The implementation of the rest of the draft was under process.

Health Special Secretary Babar Hayat Tarrar was also present on the occasion.

On the other hand, Young Doctors Association has announced protest from today (Thursday) all over the province to condemn criminal and departmental action against young doctors and for provision of service structure.

YDA President Dr Javed Iqbal told the media at Services Hospital on Wednesday evening that the young doctors would launch a peaceful protest at the state-run hospitals to press the government for withdrawing criminal case against dozens of young health professionals in connection with the Gujranwala incident.

He asked the authorities to lodge criminal case against those who had subjected their colleagues to torture at the Gujranwala District Headquarters Hospital.

He made it clear that the YDA would not observe strike at the hospitals in the larger interest of the patients and the protest would remain peaceful. He claimed that the health department had transferred and terminated from service dozens of young doctors in the aftermath of Gujranwala incident so far which forced the YDA for agitation.

Earlier, Mr Rafique dispelled the impression by a certain group of young doctors that the government has shelved the service structure issue.

He said repeated protest calls regarding service structure issue were beyond understanding.

He said the chief minister had set up a committee under the chairmanship of Senator Ishaq Dar for the service structure.

After months long efforts, the draft was finalised and the government authorities and representatives of doctors’ organisations signed it, he said.

Khwaja Salman said the YDA leaders knew the situation well about progress on the implementation of service structure by the government.

However, he said they were deliberately linking it to the Gujranwala incident to conceal their criminal act.

Talking about steps taken so far for service structure and other demands of the doctors, he said for the first time dental surgeons were included in specialist cadre who are getting Rs4,000 special monthly allowance for grade 17 and 18, while the government was paying Rs6,000 per month under the same head to the next grade doctors.

He said the new indexation formula had been put in place by increasing the emoluments of postgraduate trainee doctors.

Mr Rafique said for the first time, approval had been granted for promoting medical officers to the teaching cadre and lists finalised to grant promotion to FRCS and FCPS doctors as senior registrars.

He said the young doctors had given assurance in approved draft of service structure under an agreement that they would not resort to strike and would not leave the patients unattended.

He regretted that the young doctors had blatantly violated the agreement and resorted to physical violence against senior doctors and media representatives besides observing strike at the hospitals leaving the patients unattended.

Taking notice of the violations, the health department took legal action against 17 guilty doctors, including those involved in Gujranwala incident.

“No one would be allowed to create any hurdle in providing medical care to the patients and resorting to strike in hospitals,” Mr Rafique said.

Health Special Secretary Babar Hayat Tarrar also briefed the media about the steps saying that the formula of holding six meetings every year for the promotion of doctors was being implemented while approval for paid seats of house officers had also been granted.